Since April 2021, Washington and Tehran have attempted to renegotiate a return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). At certain moments, a return to compliance with the deal has appeared imminent. At others, press has reported the JCPOA’s final demise. Neither has yet proven to be true, but however it ends, the resolution of the future of the Iran nuclear deal will have transformative impacts on Middle East policy decision-making worldwide.
The CNAS Middle East Security Program will examine the future of Iran’s policies and activities in the Middle East in the context of current U.S. efforts to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). If the diplomatic process results in the resumption of the deal, we will examine and identify opportunities for continued diplomatic engagement to address the other modalities through which Iran projects power throughout the region. If it does not, the program will explore Tehran’s calculus for pursuing nuclear technology to “breakout” status or beyond, the impacts that nuclear-threshold or nuclear-capable status will have on Iran’s regional behavior, and policy opportunities for the United States and its partners and allies to mitigate the risk of conflict and escalation.